And the award goes to... Food

In honour of the Academy Awards, I thought I would do a post on films - films in which food is the star. Here is my list of top 5 food movies (in no particular order):

Julie & Julia

We'll start off with a recent one. I saw Julie & Julia in the Theatres and immediately fell in love with this movie. It simultaneously tells the stories of Julia Child and Julie Powell as they struggle and strive on their culinary journeys. We watch Julie blog about her own challenge to cook all the recipes in Julia Child's first cookbook in one year, as Julia writes and publishes said book. I wouldn't advise sitting down to watch this one without food. Seriously, it will make you hungry. This movie is totally centred around food and filled with a variety of beautiful dishes. A must-see for any foodie.

And to think it all started with a tiny foodblog. Hmmm....


Johnny Depp, chocolate, France - 'nuff said.

But seriously folks, this is an amazing movie (and also one of my favourites). It tells the story of Vianne who disrupts a small town, as she settles there with her daughter, opening up a chocolaterie. Chocolate is the shining star of this film, and it takes centre stage in many of the scenes. It is a beautifully directed movie with a wonderful score and lovely cinematography. If you're a Johnny fan, like myself, then you should just watch it regardless.

And this one was actually nominated for 5 Oscars, and won 8 other awards! Not bad...

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

Who doesn't love this movie? Five children receive the chance of a lifetime as they are invited to explore the world famous Wonka Chocolate Factory. Every scene is packed with sugary delights - rooms made of cakes and candies, a chocolate river, lickable wallpaper - it's such a treat for the eyes! Filled with food, music and great humour, it really is a must-see for everyone young and old.

I really wish I won a golden ticket.

And as much as I love Johnny Depp... I have to admit I like the original the best.


The star chef of this movie is not one you'd find in a typical French restaurant... or any restaurant for that matter. Remy is an aspiring cook in the city of Paris at a slight disadvantage... he's a rat. Following his passion he finds a way to practice his culinary skills behind the scenes and uses a young man as his puppet chef. To this day I am a loyal and devoted Disney fan and so definitely would recommend a Pixar film, especially one centred around restaurant kitchen.

Come on... everyone loves cartoons, and that rat is just so cute.

Supersize Me

If you love McDonald's then I wouldn't advise you to watch this one. If you haven't heard of it (which isn't likely) it is a documentary in which a man takes on the challenge of maintaining a strictly McDonald's diet. It actually gets quite disgusting by the end of the film. This one really opens up your eyes to the fast food industry. I would really hope no one out there would ever commit to such a diet. 

This documentary is proof that ignorance is bliss.

If you haven't seen any of the above, then I strongly advise you download/rent them, grab your favourite snacks, and sit down and WATCH


Flavours of the World

A while back I talked about the bucket list that my housemates and I created at the beginning of the year. When we make a cultural dish we cross off the country it originated from on this huge list that we have aimed to get through by the end of the year. We're moving through the list at about a snail's pace because in order to cross off a country the dish has to be kind of a big deal, it can't just be any random dinner but more of a group effort. How's our progress you ask? Well let's just say that we're 3/4 of the way through the year with a whole lot of countries to go, but the international potluck we had recently definitely helped!

We all know a few international and exchange friends through volunteering as language buddies and such, so we invited a bunch of these friends over for a potluck dinner. Everyone brought a dish from their home nation except for the girls of our house. I feel slightly guilty for not representing Canada but Canadian food is just so boring and restricting. We didn't want to make poutine or beaver tails so I decided to be Swedish for the day instead. The other girls picked Italian, Indian and Argentinian recipes and we ended up with some really great food! Our guests were from China, Norway and France and they all brought something delicious, so naturally, I overate. I really wish I was blessed with the ability to stop eating when I'm full...

On the potluckin' menu:

Hasselback potatoes
Empanadas - in a savoury corn and sweet potato variety
Vegetarian lasagna
Pork dumplings
Fried rice with shrimp
A spicy, curry dish
Norwegian meatballs with cranberry sauce
Pasta with pesto
A spinach and cheese tart
Crepes for dessert!

It was pretty exciting crossing off Sweden, China, Italy and France all in one night (we have already crossed off Argentina and India). I'm not going to post a formal recipe for the Hasselback potatoes because it's pretty straightforward and easy:Preheat the oven to 425F. You take as many potatoes as you desire, and wash and dry them. Next create very fine slices (about 3-4 mm intervals) through the potato from end to end, but making sure not to cut all the way through (leave about a cm or 2 from the bottom side). Next carefully open up the slivers and drizzle olive oil over them and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. It's also nice if you create a garlic butter to rub over the potatoes. Bake them in the oven for about 40-50 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. They will start to crisp and curl when they're done :)


Carrot Soup

Firstly, I'd like to apologize for the lack of posting. It's super hectic here at uni right now, and I just haven't had the time! But the good news is that Reading Week starts... RIGHT NOW, so lots of cooking, baking and eating all captured in blogposts coming your way soon :)

So to continue with my carrot recipes I next made carrot soup. I brought from home a hand blender especially for this, since we don't have one at our house at school. This recipe that I came up with is really healthy... seriously I don't think there is any fat in it at all.

I love having meals that suit the weather. It was really cold when I made this soup - probably around -15 or so that day. But it has started to warm up a bit! It rained today... Rain + February = an unhappy Jen. It can't seem to decide whether it wants spring or to stay winter. Hopefully it will decide soon...

I like carrot soup but I've decided it's kind of like eating baby food. It tastes good! But that's what it makes me think of... oh well.

Carrot Soup
Serves 2

2 large carrots, peeled
1 large potato, peeled
1/3 cup yogurt
1/2 cup water
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste

First chop the carrots and potatoes into chunks and boil them on medium heat until tender (10-15 min). Then remove from heat and drain.

Place the carrots and potato chunks in a bowl or blender and start to blend them to create a puree. If using a hand blender, this can be difficult at first so cut the pieces up into small chunks. As you continue to blend slowly add the yogurt, followed by the water. Continue adding water until you reach your desired consistency.

Continue blending and add the remaining ingredients (spices). At this point you can return the soup to the stove top over low heat, to heat it up again before serving.

Add a spoonful of plain yogurt to serve :)


A Super Bowl of Snacks

Did everyone watch the Super Bowl on Sunday? I did. I watched the whole entire thing. Impressive I think, except for that after sitting in front of the game from start to finish I couldn't even tell you who won (the Packers, I discovered afterwards). I can however tell you ALL about what we had to eat.

I love how the Super Bowl is an excuse to indulge in tons of heavy and unhealthy, but delicious snacks. I was really looking forward to gameday for this sole purpose.

Two friends came over (neither football fans, but foodies like myself) and we cooked up some treats for the game. We made a yummy layered dip for nachos, and a batch of soft pretzels. I have never made pretzels before, and we decided to try using whole-wheat flour. This might have not been the best decision on our part... it made it hard to roll and shape the dough. But for our first attempt, they ended up turning out okay! We sprinkled them with pink sea salt before throwing them in the oven.

Well we really enjoyed 'watching' the game. Actually, we mainly just paid attention to the commercials, and then went back to snacking and chatting during the game.

Did you all see the Glee commercial? SO AWESOME.

I am sorry to all those football fans out there, but I really don't understand all the hype. This food, on the other hand...


Carrot Cake Muffins with Orange Cream Cheese Filling

mmmmm muffins! Before I get to these I have to tell you something really exciting first!!! Yesterday I was reading the comments on my last post and saw that.. wait for it... Emily from Sugarplum had left me a comment! Most of you are probably familiar with her blog, she's a pro who's been around for a while. Emily's blog happens to be my absolute favourite! I visit her blog practically everday and love to use her recipes. Emily is just so cute, and she's part of the reason I started a food blog. So you can imagine how her comment just filled my heart with joy! She suggested I make risotto, so I'm definitely going to. I made squash risotto last semester so I might make it again and share the recipe with you all! Btw, if you haven't visited Sugarplum, I suggest you do so right away!

Okay, now on to the food. So I kind of have this weird obsession with carrots. I eat at least one a day, and usually more than once. The only thing is, they don't provide that many interesting and unique recipes. Next week I think I'm going to make carrot soup, but first I decided to do some baking and create my own spin on the classic carrot cake.

I decided to make carrot cake muffins, but rather than icing them after they were finished baking, I decided to fill the batter with the cream cheese icing and THEN bake them! It turns out... this was an excellent idea. With a crumbly, caramel-like topping, these muffins were bursting with carrots and spices. They had a lovely texture, that when you bit into, you were surprised with a creamy, orange cream cheese filling.

YUM. They are quite sweet - definitely no breakfast muffin - but a treat I will definitely be baking up again!

Carrot Cake Muffins with Orange Cream Cheese Filling
(Makes about 12 muffins)

2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
2 tbsp orange juice
1/4 tsp orange zest
1 1/4 cup wholewheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Cream Cheese Filling

1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp orange zest

Crumb Topping

2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter, chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp oats
1 tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line muffin tray with paper cups or grease tray well.

First prepare the cream cheese filling. Cream together the sugar and cream cheese in a bowl. Once soft and combined, mix in the orange zest.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg).

In another bowl cream together the sugars and eggs. Next stir in the oil. After it's well mixed, add the carrots and orange juice.

Add in the dry ingredients and mix until it is all combined.

Fill each muffin cup about 1/3 of the way full. Next carefully place a dollop of the cream cheese filling onto each cup of batter. Top them all off with the remaining muffin batter.

To make the crumb topping mix together the brown sugar, butter, oats and flour with your hands to create a crumbly, chunky mixture. Sprinkle this on top of the muffin cups.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks.


Gnocchi Adventure

A fellow foodie of mine invited me over to try our hands at gnocchi! I had never made it before, but my friend had, and knew a few recipes to work from. We made a large batch. And I mean LARGE. We made so much it took us a grand total of two hours! But I'd say it was all worth it when we finally sat down to eat. Gnocchi is such a wonderful comfort food, especially during this ridiculously cold Canadian winter. Since we started with such a large number of potatoes, we didn't really follow exact measurements with a recipe, just kinda added what seemed right. So sadly... I have no recipe for you. Hopefully I will make it again soon though (a smaller batch) and share it with you :)

A neverending field of gnocchi

I have yet to perfect the gnocchi texture...

Bon Appetit!

We are hoping to have another cooking adventure this semester, and I'm currently trying to decide what to make... any suggestions?